Thursday 25 May 2017

Mary's triumph a family affair for the Sextons

St Mary's 17
Roscrea 12
Leinster Schools Senior Cup

Jonathan Sexton looks on as brother Jerry helps St Mary's College beat Cistercian College Roscrea at Lakelands Park. STEPHEN MCCARTHY/SPORTSFILE
Jonathan Sexton looks on as brother Jerry helps St Mary's College beat Cistercian College Roscrea at Lakelands Park. STEPHEN MCCARTHY/SPORTSFILE

Des Berry

IRISH international Jonathan Sexton was on hand to see his brother, Jerry, help St Mary's College overcome Cistercian College Roscrea, who failed to turn their territorial superiority into points at Lakeland's Park yesterday.

The ability of St Mary's lock Sexton to win line-out ball at will and for others to strike gold, in the form of three tries from their limited chances, was the difference at the end of an intense match filled with quality rugby.

Underdogs Roscrea played with a degree of confidence in securing possession and in using their runners -- chiefly Ross Farrell, Brian Moylett and James Murphy -- around the fringes to make the hard yards.

Their problems only really began when they moved inside the St Mary's 22 line. From there, they lacked the composure and the precision to finish what they started.

If they had stayed more patient the penalties would have come from sheer weight of pressure. But St Mary's work at the breakdown and closing down of confined space left few try-scoring chances.

Conversely, when St Mary's broke out, they did it in real style. Centre Harry Norton slashed down the left to send his captain Maurice Walsh stepping inside the last defender Stephen Kelly for the opening try in the 15th minute.

Roscrea pulled some ground back, though, when their centre Tadhg Leader struck the first of his four successful penalties in the 25th minute, his second effort of the afternoon.

St Mary's No 8 Mark Fallon then hammered onto a short ball from out-half Conor Hogan to travel 10 metres through two tackles for a try that owed everything to his bulk and determination. Hogan's conversion made it 12-3 at the break.

It was this capacity to strike for five-pointers that meant St Mary's always held an ace up the sleeve. Roscrea pressed hard again, though, and Leader hit his second three-pointer two minutes in.

It got interesting when the centre stroked his third penalty over in the 45th minute as referee Kevin Beggs judged St Mary's to have committed a sin on the floor on their own 22.

Just as a shock seemed possible, St Mary's scrum-half David Fanagan slid a lovely pass down the blindside for left wing Eoin Moriarty to collect on the hop.

It looked like the killer blow. However, Leader landed a monster penalty from the left and pulled another when his footing gave way as the Roscrea boys played their hearts out in pursuit of a try that never came.

St Mary's College -- D O'Halloran; E Farrell (H McGovern 74), H Norton, M Walsh (capt), E Moriarty; C Hogan, D Fanagan; G Gallivan (G Hennessy 52), D Drumm, S Kearney, J Sexton, L Curram (P Doran 23), S O'Carroll (A Martin 74), K Barnwell, M Fallon.

Cistercian College, Roscrea -- P O'Dwyer; S Kelly, T Leader, C Finn, K O'Connell (45); B Duggan (C Dever 58), R Durcan; M Murray, D O'Dwyer, C Farrell (S Moran 53), C Moloney, B Moylett, D Egan, J Murphy, R Farrell (capt).

Ref -- K Beggs (Leinster Branch).

Irish Independent

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